Sometimes Condolences Can Hurt, More Than Help.
A few years ago, I submitted an article to The New York Resident, a free weekly newspaper in New York City that very much resembled the popular and nationally distributed New York Magazine. That first article entitled, “Think Better, Change Better” was well received by the features editor who encouraged additional submissions from me. It was a challenge! My mandate was to write articles that would appeal to a varied and diverse readership that would discuss important topics or concepts with, hopefully, some recommendations or advice to the reader, and that would never exceed 500 words! This led to a series of twelve published articles – all of which are included in this section. The editors re-titled two of my articles while leaving the others alone. “Snatching Defeat” was originally titled, “Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory.” “Dead Flowers,” a title I still don’t understand, was originally titled, “Whose Intimacy Is It?”
Another article in this section, “How Could They Have Said That?” was published by the same newspaper in 1996 and became a much circulated guide for people struggling to ‘say the right thing’ to those suffering the effects of negative or traumatic events in their lives.
I hope that you will enjoy and benefit from these articles as well as the many others in the Resources section of my website.
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Marsha was someone who believed that one of the main purposes and benefits of her friendships was to have people with whom to share her troubles and get sympathy.
Many people find it very difficult to say “no” or to accept someone’s saying “no” to them without experiencing negative emotions. As a result, they often say “yes” when they really mean the opposite, which leads to consequences like anger and resentment directed toward themselves and others. A young client of mine who said “yes” to six suitors who asked her to the high school senior prom is a memorable example.
Handling Social Anxiety. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt,” is a saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln. This appears to be the negative belief of people who become very nervous in social situations and are convinced that they will say something foolish, thereby justifying their feelings of social ineptitude.
Managing and Treating Depression. People who seek out therapists for help with depression and anxiety have often struggled with these feelings on their own for long periods of time. The decision to seek help may come as a result of feeling frustrated and helpless to resolve a particular issue or because of a chronic unhappiness with their lives.
Relieving Anxiety By Identifying Negative Thinking: People in psychotherapy or counseling can be helped to see that their problems may be traceable to anxiety-inducing beliefs caused by irrational thought patterns. This awareness can stimulate a productive therapeutic effort leading to meaningful emotional and behavioral change.
Why We’re Often Our Own Worst Enemy: After several tries, Jim, age 25, was finally accepted into a prestigious bank management program. Once in the program, however, Jim found it “difficult” to make time to study. Assignments were handed in late, if even completed, and Jim developed severe headaches, all of which eventually led to his being the only trainee to leave the program…just days before he would have been forced to withdraw.
What’s the Difference? There appears to be widespread confusion between what constitutes healthy pride, something one ought to be able to freely express when appropriate, and boastfulness or bragging, something most people find objectionable in themselves and others. Boastfulness is commonly defined as talking in a self-admiring way or glorifying oneself. It is often thought of as excessive pride. We tend to think of people who boast as arrogant, self-preoccupied or, perhaps, insecure, which is why they may need to boast in the first place.
Making Sense of Things That Don’t Add Up: Emily was excited after her blind date with Walt. More than any man she had met in years, he was charming, funny, successful, and seemed as taken with her as she was with him. They had much in common and both indicated their pleasure in finally meeting someone with whom they wished to spend more than twenty minutes. After a polite first kiss in the lobby of her apartment building, he promised to call within a few days to arrange their next date. That was the last Emily ever heard from Walt.
Intimacy Confusion Breeds Conflict: For some people, intimacy is a challenge and a source of considerable concern. For others, it feels like a language in which they are fluent and, therefore, can easily converse. Many people worry-perhaps deservedly, perhaps not-about their capacity for intimacy, especially if they have been labeled as being somehow intimacy-deficient.